Santiago de Compostela
As we approached the plaza at the end of our hike, we were met on the final stairway by this bagpiper. Turns out the bagpipe is an important part of traditional Galician music, so perhaps there's some relation to Scotland and Ireland. Who knows.
Here's our hotel (yeah, a modest little spot), located on the same plaza as the Cathedral.
We were so lucky to be able to stay at the beautiful Parador de los Reyes Catolicos, an old hospital that was converted into a hotel and run by the government. There are paradors all over Spain in important historic structures. Ours was amazing, and so welcome after our days on the road.
Another view of one of the inner courtyards, which date back to the 1400's.
As a final celebration before sending the kids on their way to Croatia for the next leg of their vacation, we treated ourselves to an amazing dinner in the fine dining room of the hotel. It was delicious, with great food, wine, and service.
On the way into town, I noticed a striking modern building up on a hillside, and recognized it as Peter Eisenman's center for Galician Culture. I took a cab up the next morning, and explored the site, which was fascinating, and very unusual. It took me until i was looking at the photos to realize that this red play structure is a whale, with his head and tail popping out of the pavement. The complex includes a museum of Galician history, the main library and archives, and an incubator space for promoting new businesses, arts, and technologies. It was the winner of a design competition held back in 1999, and i got to see models and drawings of all of the entries. The next phase, a large theater, is now under construction in between the original wings.
The interior of the library was really dramatic. I thought it seemed a lot of space for not that many materials or seats, but then when visiting the interior of the Cathedral, i realized that this was the same characteristic that made it so inspiring.
The view from our hotel terrace down into more of the historic town. Beautiful.
This chapel was also at the end of the ramp that went down from the front of the hotel.
And here we are, getting blessed at the pilgrim's mass at noon in the Cathedral. They acknowledged the countries of all of the Perigrinos who checked in at the official office at the end of the Camino, so we were pleased to be amongst those from the Estados Unidos.